hwbrides14011421208.jpgPHOTO: HER WORLD BRIDES

A – ACCOMMODATE AND ADAPT
… to different needs situations and requests. It’s your wedding too, but celebrating the day with people you love means having to take note of certain needs, especially for your parents. And in the same vein, certain trends (such as outdoor rustic weddings) might not work as well in Singapore. Instead, take elements from it and infuse them with your own personal style.

B – BUDGETS
Plan a budget and stick to it. Always discuss with your other half on what is important for your wedding, which items need more money and which ones you can delete to avoid going over budget. 

C – CLARITY
Be clear from the start on what you want for your wedding. If you wish to have a romantic celebration with lots of flowers, ensure that all the other aspects of your wedding adhere to this overarching theme. It’s easy to get carried away and deviate from your original idea but this could possibly mean starting from scratch again, and confusing your bridal party and vendors. 

D – DIY
DIY-ing some elements for your wedding helps cut costs and adds a personal touch to your celebrations. Whether it’s designing and crafting your own invites or decor, or even baking cakes for your dessert buffet at the reception, these DIY projects can also help you bond with your friends and families, especially for projects that require more hands and help.

E – EMERGENCY FUNDS
In the rush of planning for your big day, there will always be overlooked items you need at the last minute. Create an emergency fund: put aside a small sum (5 per cent of your total budget would be good) to deal with these issues.

F – FUN
All planning and no fun make Jane a dull bride. Your wedding prep is supposed to be fun! The entire journey should be filled joy and happiness, and it’s an opportunity for you to work and bond closely with your other half. So let’s not lose sight of what matters when planning for your wedding: having fun to create a memorable occasion for the biggest day of your life.

G – GROOM
The groom is sometimes forgotten or sidelined when a couple plans the wedding. Don’t forget that the wedding is a day for both of you, and not just the bride. Besides paying attention to his outfits and responsibilities, do involve your groom in the wedding prep. Keep him updated, ask for his advice and appreciate his contributions. Your celebrations should reflect both your personalities, preferences, contributions and personal styles – so get your groom involved.

H – HELP
Every bride needs help. Even with a wedding planner, there may be other tasks that only your closest friends can help you with, like advice from family and friends. Seek out whatever help you need from those who are willing to lend a hand. 

I – INVITATIONS
It’s always good to send out an invite notification through email or a post on Facebook, at least three months before your wedding. Guests will be able to take note of the details, make arrangements and rsvp accordingly. With a confirmed guest list, you would be able to save on printing costs and mail out formal invitations to those who have confirmed their attendance.

J – JEWELLERY
Depending on the design of your wedding outfits, you may not have to wear a full set of bridal jewellery all the time. Sometimes a pair of beautiful earrings or a statement necklace may be all you need to complete your look. For more sparkle, add on crystal brooches for your hair, dress or even the satin belt of your dress. 

With a quick change of accessories and jewellery, you can easily have three different look for one dress. Remember to plan your looks and edit your jewellery to avoid looking too over accessorized.

K – KEEPSAKES
Before you know it, your big day will be over in a flash. Besides giving away favors and keepsakes to guests and helpers, remember to have a few special mementos for yourself! 

A good photographer will help capture all the special moments of your celebrations, and if you can afford one, have a videographer too. Make a checklist of all the essential pictures and portraits you need for your wedding album and brief your photographer accordingly; you don’t want to end up without any pictures with your family or close friends.

Remember also to keep some of the wedding stationery and decor elements – you can keep them in the wedding album along with your pictures. Or create a scrapbook! Sometimes these details can remind you more of your wedding than pictures.

L – LEEWAY
Let’s not be a Bridezilla before the wedding! Remember that no matter how well planned and prepared you are, things can, and most times will, go wrong on the actual day. So be flexible and allow some leeway for minor mishaps and mistakes. The important thing is to have a joyous occasion and not stress over the details. 

M – MADE-TO-ORDER
If you are customising or having something made-to-order exclusively for your wedding, you will need more time for the orders to be completed. Your vendors will be able to give you a good an idea of the time needed to fulfill your order, but it’s always good to add 2 weeks to a month extra time in case of last minute problems. Always check on the progress of your order and ensure that as work progresses, everything is as you expect it to be. If not, the extra time will allow you to make some last minute changes.

N – NOTES
As mentioned in my previous articles on dealing with wedding photographers and vendors, make concise and clear notes for all your meetings with vendors and helpers. Organize these notes nicely and make sure you tick items off when they are completed. If needed, make copies of your schedules and notes according to categories and distribute them to your helpers handing that particular task.

O – ORDER LISTS
Keep a file of all the invoices, receipts and orders lists related to your wedding. You can separate them according to categories like the bridal wardrobe, F&B, decor etc. Not only will the documentation help you keep track of your budget, it will also remind you of what else needs to be done before the wedding.

P – PRIORITISE
As with every project you undertake, always prioritize what needs to be done first, which aspect needs more attention or funds, or what element of the entire celebration means the most to you. Note down your priorities and always bear them in mind when planning your wedding. It’s good to share some of these priorities with your planners or helpers so they can help you meet deadlines. 

Q – QUESTIONS
Never be afraid to ask questions. Meetings with vendors are not only to check out their services and what they can offer you, it’s also an opportunity for you to ask as many questions as you like. Be clear about what you are paying for and what you can expect from the vendor.  

R – RENT
If you’re not particular about your wedding needs, then you can rent items to help control your costs. A search online will provide listings of vendors you can rent your items from, be it cutlery for the reception, your wedding gown and even floral centerpieces (albeit using fake flowers). You can go directly to these vendors yourself or work with a wedding planner who will arrange everything on your behalf. 

S – STANDBY PLANS
Always have a Plan B; it would be better if you have Plan C too! No matter how well you plan for your big day, something always goes wrong. A good wedding planner will always have a standby plan in case of emergencies. You can always get one of your bridesmaids or close friend to oversee these standby plans.

T – TABLE SETTINGS
It’s always nice to have some personal touches to your table settings. Most couples would usually go for the standard hotel setting packages but you can add little touches of your own to the centerpieces. These added details can reflect the theme of your celebrations – for example, small ornate frames featuring your wedding portrait can add a vintage charm to a standard table setting display. Or you can add your favorite blooms to the floral arrangements. So make the effort to make your decor, and table settings, more personal and memorable. 

U – USHERS
I have been to weddings where the seating plans for the reception and dinner is so badly organized that guests were left irritated and fuming.  The wedding is not just about the couple; it’s also about your friends and family joining you in celebrating your big day.  So it’s important that everyone enjoys the occasion stress and fuss-free. 

Besides helpers at the reception table to help with the seating plans, it’s important to also have ushers (who can be your friends, colleagues or family members) to help guests navigate their way through the venue. This is especially so for elderly guests.  Having ushers speeds things up and helps clear any misunderstanding over the seating plans. 

V -VET AND EDIT
When deciding on the vendors to work with, it would be good to vet through their portfolios and check on some of their most recent projects.  If the vendor has worked with some of your friends and acquaintances before, check with them on the vendor’s performance and work.

Have a meet up with the vendor and discuss your needs and preferences with them. Commit a vendor only after you have done your research exhaustively. I have come across couples who worked with vendors that were highly recommended by friends without doing their own background checks, and the vendors ended up making a mess on the big day.

W – WET WEATHER PLANS
Whether you plan to have your celebration at a hotel or an outdoor venue, it’s always good to have contingency plans in case of bad weather. Besides the dinner celebration, you will be spending most of your wedding day rushing from one place to another, so it’s best to have a wet weather plan in case it pours.  Work with one of your helpers on your wet weather plans and have him/her on standby with the relevant resources: umbrellas, taxi contacts or friends who can help ferry the bridal party around.

In case it rains in the evening and guests have a hard time getting to your hotel venue, standby some of your helpers to help ferry the guests from the bus stops or nearby MRT stations. If you are planning on an outdoor reception, ensure that there is an alternative sheltered venue nearby you can use.

X – XTRAS
Sometimes it pays to be a little kiasu. Even though everything may be confirmed before the big day, you never know that might happen, so it’s best to have ’extras’ on standby.  For example, dinner guests might bring their partners or kids for whom did not rsvp for – so always have 1 to 2 tables on standby for unexpected guests.  It’s also good to have more hongbaos on standby in case you there are more helpers than what you planned for.

Y – YOU & YOUR LOVED ONE
In all the hustle and bustle of preparing for your wedding, remember to have time set aside for you and your other half. It can be a day off just resting and lazing around at home, or a weekend overseas for a relaxing time.  Just remember that this time out is to allow both of you to recuperate and refresh yourself before the big day; don’t pack it with other activities that leave you even more exhausted and tired.

Z – A GOOD SNOOOOOZZZZZE
Everything might be nicely planned to the last detail, but if you’re going to end up looking frazzled and tired on your big day, then all the efforts would be for naught. Remember to rest, and relax, in the days leading to your wedding; sleeping more the day before won’t help much.  Always set aside enough time for a good sleep at least 2 weeks before the big day and schedule in some relaxing massage and facial sessions to get you looking your best.

Got any wedding-related questions? We’re happy to help! Please drop us an e-mail at sthio@sph.com.sg should you wish to submit your queries. Please note that your queries and our responses may be featured in the magazine, or on the website.